While Joey Barton has tried his best to defuse the spat that took place between him and Gabriel Agbonlahor during the Newcastle v Aston Villa match on Monday night, this one doesn’t appear to be going away in a hurry. The pair clashed after referee Steve Bennett awarded a free-kick against the Newcastle midfielder during the first half of the match, prompting the latter to confront the Villans striker.
Aside from a cheeky pinch on the nose, it seems that it was a case of handbags at ten paces, yet The Guardian today report that Aston Villa are treating the matter with a great deal of seriousness. Indeed, it appears as though Barton might have traded a rather offensive insult or two, with the Midlands club spending a good deal of time yesterday weighing up whether there was racist content coming from a player who needs to stay out of trouble or risk expulsion from the game altogether.
Aston Villa were last night weighing up whether to make an official complaint to the Football Association as they looked into allegations that Joey Barton racially abused the England Under-21 international Gabriel Agbonlahor during Newcastle United’s 2-0 victory at St James’ Park on Monday night.
Newcastle declined to comment. Barton’s agent, Willie McKay, said that he was in hospital last night and added: “I don’t want to talk about the situation. I don’t know anything about it.” Barton is understood to categorically deny the allegations.
Villa officials have confirmed that the investigation is into matters of a racist nature and Setanta Sports has provided the club with footage of the set-to with Agbonlahor. Villa’s legal advisers spent several hours yesterday examining the tapes and are considering employing lip-reading experts.
This is the last thing that Newcastle United need, and it appears as though Aston Villa are not letting the matter lie in a hurry. Nevertheless, if indeed Barton is proven to have made a racist remark to Agbonlahor, it will once again mean that this words of remorse made a fortnight ago will amount to little more than hot air.